Launching in a lockdown: Micro-influencers prove to be big help for Singapore-based beauty brand

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

The company is focused on educating its consumers on the concept of clean beauty.
The company is focused on educating its consumers on the concept of clean beauty.

Related tags Singapore Indie beauty influencers Marketing

A Singapore-based beauty brand has credited its partnership with micro-influencers in helping it gain brand awareness online during the tough conditions of launching in the midst of a country-wide lockdown.

Klynn Beauty was founded by Talisa Poh, a former corporate financier with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

It considers itself a ‘clean’ beauty brand and utilises native Australian ingredients such as Australian white clay and Kakadu plum extract. The brand is also manufactured in Australia.

Poh was gearing up to launch her brand after a year in development and production when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak hit Singapore.

The brand was scheduled to launch with its first product in mid-2020.

When it was clear the COVID-19 crisis was not going to diminish anytime soon, Poh made the decision to proceed with the launch at the end of May, just over a month into Singapore’s ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown order.

“At that time, I was juggling between starting a business and working around the clock at my corporate job. Of course, I was worried about launching during such a difficult time, but I didn’t want that to stop me after all that effort and planning for so long,” ​said Poh.

Fortunately for company, its initial plans were to concentrate primarily on the building up the brand online.

However, Poh highlighted that even then it has been an arduous process to build up brand recognition.

“Being the new brand in the very saturated market is already very difficult, and with the pandemic it got even harder,” ​said Poh.

Since its launch in May, the brand had been focused on gaining presence online, utilising a mix of paid digital advertisements and influencer marketing.

However, paid advertising has not proven to be as effective in reaching out to its target audience as its partnership with influencers.

More specifically, the brand chooses to work with micro-influencers, key opinion leaders (KOLs) that have a smaller list of followers of less than 10,000.

“Micro-influencers are the way to go,” ​Poh tells CosmeticsDesign-Asia​. “Although they don’t have that reach and spread bigger influencers do, they can be more effective because their followers really trust and believe in what they recommend.”

Poh’s advice for new brands is to partner with influencers that are within their niche with high engagement rates which are more likely to convert into sales.

She added that it was crucial to work with influencers that are aligned with your brand values.

“We have worked with influencers that have personally tried the product saw that it worked for them and truly believe in our vision of clean beauty.”

Expansion plans on hold

For the next 12 months, Poh said the company is focused on educating its consumers on the concept of clean beauty.

“Compared to the US or Australia, the understanding of clean beauty is not there yet. For instance, many people actually think clean beauty is just another word for natural or organic. I really want Klynn to be a part of that journey to help spread the knowledge and hopefully help consumers make more informed choices.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the company initially had its sights set on expanding to the wider South East Asia region into markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines.

However, the logistic challenges have proven to be too ‘painful’, said Poh.

“In terms of cost, it hit us hard. At one point our Australian counterparts told us our shipping costs would go up by two and a half times.”

With the additional hurdles of tightening custom regulations, the firm has decided to focus on the local market.

Poh said she was currently in talks with a few retail partners to put her products on consignment in order to boost the brand’s presence in the market.

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